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Vintage 75 Gallon Metaframe Aquarium


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Guess what I dragged home today!!!

Here's a shot from the owner, as found:

AsFound.jpg

Here it is in the back of my Volkswagen Diesel Rabbit (Ute) Pickup:

ArrivesHomeresized.jpg

The exterior measures 48.5"L x 20.5"T x 18.5"W, making it about an 80 gallon tank, but measured inside, it'll hold 65 gallons.

The tar sealant shot, as is the glass, so I'm going to take it apart, have new glass cut for it. I may sport for the front panel of glass to be done in Starfire Glass, which is a low iron glass and is clearer than standard plate glass.

I've been looking for a larger tank because, as much as I love the 55 that I just finished, it's just not enough environment for 3 single tails. It only holds about 45 gallons, plus another 2 in the filter.

Sadly, it's going to be a lot of work, and it's missing it's light hoods, and the finishing panel that covers the center brace. I can get the panel made, and the light hoods from my 55 will fit this one perfectly.

I'll post photos of this project as it progresses.

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Awesome! You did such a great job with the 55 gallon tank, I'm sure this one will turn out great too. And your fish will love the extra space! :D And you might even have space for more between both tanks. Great deal all around!

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If all goes as planned, this larger tank will replace the 55, and I will sell the 55. I don't have room for a 2nd tank, let alone one so large and heavy.

I'm in the process of trying to remove one of the glass panels right now.....this is not going to be fun!

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This is going to get ugly!

Got the 1/2" thick, 75 pound slate bottom out. What a fight that was. The tank is so large that I can't keep enough of the frame hot long enough to be able to work with the tar sealant.

Slateremoved.jpg

For those that haven't seen one of these upclose, they put together like a puzzle: front and back glass go in first, then the end glass. The tank's top metal frame folds down over the top of the glass, so the glass is swung up under the top frame first, and then moved into place against the actual face frame. The slate bottom is the last piece in. The glass and slate are bedded into a tar type sealant that's about 1/8" thick, and as wide as you see the face frame. The tar is heat sensative, so if you get it hot enough, it's about like peanut butter. As it cools it becomes hard. It's a real challenge to get the panels out without damaging the thin stainless steel frame.

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Oh My Gosh!!! I am so excited for you!!!and Jealous as well... But I will definitely be following this thread so do not be stingy with the photo updates ;) lol Can't wait to see how this goes :)Love your 55 by the way!!!!

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Got the tank all the front and back glass removed. It's 3/8" thick and super heavy. Was only able to get one piece out without breaking it. Doesn't matter because I'm replacing it, and I was putting most of my finesse and efforts into keeping the frame undamaged. I measured the slate and it's 11/16"(17mm) thick!

There are a couple spots along the top of the frame that have corroded through and made holes, as well as stained down the face of the frame. I may try to have these stainless welded back up, although it may not be possible without turning the surrounding stainless blue, and/or burning big holes through since the frame is such a thin gauge of sheetmetal.

I've got the tar stripped off the back of the entire front frame, and off a couple other areas, but there is still a ton of work left to do. It is absolutely the least amount of fun I've ever had.

Here are a couple photos of the progress....

Strippedendview.jpg

Strippedsideview.jpg

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Just got a quote from the glass company. It's going to be about $345 for the glass! The front pane in regular glass is $129, or $169 in Starfire. So I'm going with Starfire for the front and regular glass for the back. It should all be here by Thurs/Friday.

Now I need to find a source for caulking gun tubes of black silicone.

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The tanks were originally built with black tar.

See in the first 2 photos how frame overlaps the glass by about 1-1/2" on all sides? Well, the black (tar) sealant gives a bold black "frame" on the view of the inside of the tank. With clear, the silicone is so thick that it gives a funky milky look to the inside frame areas. Just doesn't look right.

Although, truth be told, just looking at the tank you'd have to really hunt around to find any of the clear silicone exposed because the gravel hides the bottom, the back side of the front from can be seen, and the back corners are hidden (at least in my setup) by the plants.

But there's black that's exposed between the shiny frame and the glass on the outside, so that needs to look right...clear would not.

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Ok, I get it, your trying to stay as true to the original tank as you can!!! I think its great!!!How on earth do you find these tanks anyway?I would so love to find something like this in my part of the world (LOL) How's the new re do coming along anyway???

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Here's a little progress report.

The frame prepped:

Framestripedclean.jpg

The new glass and original slate bottom back in:

Freshlyassembledresized.jpg

It took twelve 10.3oz caulking gun size tubes to bed all the panels and seal the inside corners and the natural fault line in the slate.

I currently have the back (shown in the photo above) cleaned up and the tape removed, and I'm working on the right side now.

The next job is to make this tank's original frame 5" narrower front-to-back so it'll fit my vintage 55. Then move the fish out of the 55, drain the 55, and mod it's stand so that it's 5" wider to fit this new tank. After that, it'll be time to set up this new tank.

The next job is to resize this tank's original frame to fit my vintage 55. It just needs to be 5" narrower front-to-back.

Then I'll transfer the fish out of the 55 so that I can mod it's frame to be 5" wider (front-to-back) in order to fit this new tank. Reason: I like the 55's frame much better as far as style goes, and it's a stronger frame with hidden reinforcement in angle iron that supports the tank bottom.

Shellbell4ever: If you're serious about owning a big one of these vintage tanks, email me directly and I'll hook you up. I'm at: austinado16 at cs dot com

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Looking Good,It looks so shiny and Awesome :) I also read that if you fill a tank like that up with very hot water it will seal any leaks,have you heard of this??

I would so love to have a tank like that(but with out all the hard work ;) But I do not think it's in my budget presently :( I looked a little on ebay and there's an awesome one with a seahorse stand for like $21,000.00 ;0!!!way out of my league :( Also I am in NY :( and your in cal...but a link for the future or dreaming would be fun :)

Please keep this post up to date as I am so enjoying following your progress :)

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Shellbell4....these tanks are not 21 grand, lol. They're a few hundred. If you're serious about wanting a big one like this, email me. I have a potential for you.

I worked on the tank until about 1:30am last night and got all the tape and excess silicone off. Still some work left to go, but at least it's starting to look more like an aquarium.

Freshlyassembledcleanedup.jpg

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It's Really looking great :) I can not wait to see the finished project :) I am so excited for you!!!

As for me even a couple hundred is out of the budget right now, as my Hubby and I are both out on disability and were still rebounding from his Cancer :( But thanks so much for thinking of me :) I will just tag along with you on your journey for now :)

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Getting a little closer. The silicone is almost completely cured......but I'm still several weeks from adding hydrogen dioxide and orangy goodness.

Today I found a guy who could make a new stainless steel cover for the existing top brace. The cover was missing from this tank, so I modeled the new cover after the cover that is on my 55G.

CenterBracefinished.jpg

I'm also hoping that my 3D background will ship today so that I can get it by Thursday and start the installation process. Here's what I've ordered:

tancraggyrock2.jpg

Once the background is glued in and the silicone is cured, I can take down the 55G and begin modding it's stand to fit this new tank.

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Thanks. We'll see how it is in person, AND once installed. That photo is just of it in 2 pieces....so it's not yet "modded" to fit together and blend better, plus I'm going to have it come forward just a little on each end. At least that's the plan right now. That might change once I start playing around with it.

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